What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Ellen Walker

Special to the Gazette

Other than the surge of Omicron, the year of 2022 is off to a good start. More and more businesses are beginning to pick up as we roll into February and there is an optimism in the air because we all believe that life will become normal again. It is only of a matter of when! 

Newsworthy items that occurred in Mission Hill last month included a visit by Mayor Wu to Penguin Pizza where she met with several local business owners. It is good to have political leaders supporting small businesses, especially in this unique pandemic period. Milkweed Cafe was featured as one of the dinning destinations in the Boston Globe’s January 23rd Sunday edition in an article title Diners, Drive Ins and Dives in Boston; the Laughing Monk Café had a successful abutters meeting to expand their restaurant; as part of the ICNA Relief Program at the Mosque (ISBCC-Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center), they have been handing out meat coupons for use at the International Halal Market. All these examples show how small businesses are incredibly involved in the life of our community.

February is Black History Month and honors the contributions of African Americans to US history. To name just a few prominent figures there are Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first US woman to become a self-made millionaire; George Washington Carver, who derived nearly 300 products from the peanut; and Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and galvanized the civil rights movement. Closer to home is the Parker Hill Library where, according to Librarian Karen Gallagher, a celebration of African American History Month will present an African American themed showcase. Patrons can drop-in during our hours (Monday-Thursday 10:00am-6:00pm and Friday 9:00am-5:00pm) to see the amazing art. Also featured is The Parker Hill Book Discussion Group and they will read African American author Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress. The Book Discussion Group is open to all adults. Feel free to contact Karen Gallagher at  [email protected] or 617.427.3820

As you may have heard, MHMS is celebrating 25 years in the community this year. We are planning a truly memorable and fun day this September. For those among you who enjoy local stories, we are excited that the author and historian of over sixty books on the history and development of Boston, Anthony Sammarco, has agreed to be a part of this special day. The Boston Globe referred to Anthony as the “Balzac of Boston.”  His most recent book, “Mission Hill Through Time,” is set to be published in the Spring and we were gifted a sneak preview. Enjoy it! 

Looking east on Huntington Avenue, on the right is the Harvard Apartment building and just beyond a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant at the corner of St. Alphonsus Street with a neon sign in front. Howard Johnson created an orange-roofed empire of restaurants that stretched from Maine to Florida and from the East Coast to the West Coast. Popularly known as the “Father of the Franchise Industry,” Johnson and his numerous franchise restaurants delivered good food and ice cream at reasonable prices that brought appreciative customers back for more. The attractive white Colonial Revival restaurants, with eye-catching orange porcelain tile roofs, illuminated cupolas, and sea blue shutters, were described in Reader’s Digest in 1949 as the epitome of “eating places that look like New England town meeting houses dressed up for Sunday.”  Anthony Sammarco

Please feel free to send your ideas, photos or stories about the past 25 years in Mission Hill to MHMS, 1542 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120 or to [email protected].

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to one of our long-time MHMS Board members, Shirma Pierre. Shirma represents our Corporate Buddy, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has been a positive force within the neighborhood as the face of BWH and will be missed by the people and organizations she has worked closely with over the years in Mission Hill. As a member of the MHMS Board, she was a strong and positive force who always had a positive outlook on any situation. As one Board member stated “the most essential quality of a community liaison and corporate representative is accessibility. Shirma was always there when we needed her.” We all wish her well at her new job.

MHMS wishes you all a safe and healthy month!

“Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”

―  Langston Hughes, American Poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and one of the earliest innovators of the literary art form called jazz poetry.

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